Manchester City thrashed Liverpool 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to close the gap on Arsenal, who regained their eight-point lead with a win over Leeds United later on the day. Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, Īlkay Gündogan and Jack Grealish scored for the Citizens after Mohamed Salah had put Liverpool ahead early on.
It was a resounding win for Pep Guardiola’s side over the team that has troubled them the most in recent years. The month of April began on a positive note for the English champions as they prevailed easily in the first of the many daunting fixtures this month is going to throw at them.
Manchester City started the match with a 4-3-3 formation, but it effectively became 3-4-2-1 whenever they had possession. Right-back John Stones switched to play as a defensive midfielder alongside Rodri when City had the ball.
It allowed Gündogan to venture forward freely and the German midfielder played a key role in City’s goals. Gündogan was arguably the most influential player in the match.
De Bruyne scored one and provided the assist for another, as City sliced open the Liverpool defence with their rapid counter-attacks in the second half. Their quick and accurate passing tormented the Liverpool defenders, who leaked goals in at the back yet again this season.
The Liverpool midfield trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott failed to provide a creative spark that was needed to trouble the City defence. Liverpool’s goal came through a long pass played to Cody Gakpo from their own half, as Salah scored from the second ball. The Egyptian forward thus maintained his excellent scoring record against Manchester City.
Both Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez performed excellently for City, with the former scoring his first home goal for the club. Mahrez, who is renowned for cutting inside from the right flank, showed his versatility by playing crosses with his right foot from the flank, including one that led to De Bruyne’s goal. Grealish scored his goal following a one-two with the redoubtable de Bruyne.
The City midfielders, to their credit, kept moving the ball well by spreading it to the flanks repeatedly. City were rapid with their counter-attacks and gave Liverpool’s defence little time to organize themselves.
Julian Alvarez also impressed with his link-up play and combined with the wingers on several occasions. Gundogan scored his goal off of a rebound after Alvarez’s shot from inside the box was saved by Liverpool’s Alisson Becker. The inspiring performance from the Argentine forward means that Manchester City did not miss their No. 9, Erling Haaland, who did not play on Saturday.